Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! #10
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INTRODUCTION by William P. Tandy
GREEN ACRES William P. Tandy
THE ALLEY BUNNY OFFENSIVE Siobhán Fitzpatrick
BETTER THAN EVER Susan Beverly
A DECK OF ONES OWN Rahne Alexander
INSIDE OUTSIDE Davida Gypsy Breier
WORK IN PROGRESS Jena Shlock
IN THE SHADOWS OF A CITY Sonny Hall a.k.a Slow Poet
BELIEVING LONG-DISTANCE Erika Jahneke
SKIPPING GIRL E. Doyle-Gillespie
THE SCREAM, BALTIMORE-STYLE Ben Shaberman
MOMENT OF ZEN Davida Gypsy Breier
HAIKU Rafael Alvarez
CHICKEN BONES Jen Michalski
BALTIMORE MOVIE THEATRES - DOWNTOWN Thomas Paul
THE ALLURE OF ALS ARMS Lisa D. Singer
YOU HAVE TO LOVE YOURSELF FIRST J. Gavin Heck
CITY WALK A.E. Watts
BOCCE ROLLERS ADD SPICE TO BALTIMORES SPAGHETTI BOWL Rosalia Scalia
LARRY, MOE AND ME Craig Kirchner
5:47 A.M. SUICIDE PACT ANSWERING MACHINE MESSAGE J. Gavin Heck
TALES FROM MOLLYS PUBLIC HOUSE Martha Gatewood
FOOTBALL COSPLAY Benn Ray
MAN CAVES Benn Ray and Ryan Onorato
NO FAULT GeezerWal
OPEN CASE William P. Tandy
About the Contributors
Any of these yours? I asked. Gavin pointed to a few pieces not yet hung.
These, he said, then pointed to a big piece already hanging on the wall. That one over there is Reeds.
I recognized the picture a large-format photo of a girl spitting a mouthful of dirt at the viewer. Id first seen it a few months before, hanging in another art space. The girls dark brown dress, with its white trim and polka dots, reminded me of Captain Cupcake.
Gavin held a picture-hanger up to the wall. I started seeing a therapist, he said, so apropos of nothing that it almost was. Hammer.
I picked up the claw hammer from a nearby table and handed it to him.
Good for you, man, I said which was the truth. Id always respected his honesty, especially in his writing, which lately had been so frank that at times it was almost too painful to read. It was this quality, in fact, that had brought me to visit him on this particular evening at the Windup Space on North Avenue, where he was busy hanging artwork for an upcoming display. For the last few months, Id been collaborating with a friend on a screenplay, and there was a particular role that I thought might suit Gavin well.
But now, as much as anything, I felt a sense of solidarity in his latest admission. After all, Id been back to seeing the therapist myself for the last five or six weeks, for issues involving depression. She, in turn, referred me to a psychiatrist, who subsequently dosed me up with an antidepressant something entirely new for me. As far as I was concerned, Prozac killed Del Shannon, and for years that was as much as I needed to know. Besides, too many people rely on too many pills to alleviate what ails them, whether theyre too sad, too happy, too fat, too thin, too tired or too wired.
But my depression had isolated me to a debilitating degree. With growing frequency, I shut out everyone and everything. And to make matters worse, I was back to drinking a lot. One day, it occurred to me that while I had spent years demonizing happy pills I had no such reservations regarding alcohol, which through the course of history has probably killed more people than yellow fever, Great Britain and partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil combined. I knew I had to do something.
Like me, Gavin had obviously recognized something similar in his own feelings and behaviors, prompting him to seek help. Of all people, Gavin, I knew, would understand.
Actually, I said as he drove the nail home, I just saw my own therapist a few hours ago.
He nodded and handed the hammer back to me. You happy with them?
Her, I said. So far.
Thats good, he said, leveling the piece he had just hung. Same here. He moved down the wall and picked up the next one from the floor.
I just picked a name I liked out of the phone book and gave her a call, he added, holding the painting up to the wall. Hows that?
Bring it up just a bit, I said. Little more there. Perfect.
Gavin marked the spot on the wall, then put the painting down. He picked up the hammer and nailed another picture-hanger to the wall.
So how often do you go? I asked as he leveled the piece.
Well, I just started yesterday, he admitted, but Ill probably wind up going once a week, at least for a while.
Yeah, I said as he picked up the next piece. I started out going once a week, but after a while knocked it back a bit. Before today, I hadnt seen her for two weeks. Between that and all the checkups with the oncologist, I felt like I was spending almost as much time at Union as I do at work.
Gavin stopped, artwork in hand. Union Memorial?
He looked at me quizzically. Youre not seeing Roxie by any chance, are you?
Now, it was my turn to stare quizzically. And then both of us laughed.
Gavin, I knew, would understand.
William P. Tandy
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